Temporary Wayfinding for a Global city

Transport for NSW (TfNSW)



  • Client:
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Sydney bus commuters faced the largest CBD transport network changes in over 30 years. The catalyst was the closing of George Street, through the heart of Sydney’s CBD, for the construction of the new light rail system. The new bus network started operating within the Sydney CBD from 4 October 2015 and over one million customers needed to be informed and ready for the change.

The improved transport network is a key to the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy developed by the Transport for NSW (TfNSW), and supports the NSW Government’s plan to reduce congestion for future growth within the Central Business District (CBD) precinct and provide a world class light rail system to revitalise George Street.

The new bus network was designed to better integrate with trains, ferries and both existing and future light rail. The new routes connect more destinations and streamline the number of buses that start and finish in the CBD. The changes asked customers to plan ahead and check their journey prior to and during travel. A customer may need to walk further, catch an alternative bus or utilise other modes of transport to access their new stop. Temporary wayfinding will be required to support customers through these changes with the impact and scope of the CBD temporary wayfinding potentially extending to other transport modes such as at train stations and ferry wharves.


As part of the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy, TfNSW Customer Services Division (CSD) engaged BrandCulture as expert Technical Advisor to develop a temporary signage system to provide assistance to commuters during the transitional period. This system provided contextual information (mapping, services and timetables), directions and circulation transitions to inform of the new routes. The brief required a kit of parts to be developed, city-wide site audits (of over 200 bus stops and CBD train stations), sign messages, artwork for final fabrication and installation all within a six week program.


After an initial analysis and refinement of the strategy, a site audit of the entire CBD precinct revealed the need to develop a unique system of non-intrusive fixings including various types of attachments for both standard Roads & Maritime Services and City of Sydney “Smart” poles. More importantly due to the historical nature of some of the sites, unique mounting options were carefully resolved and implemented, particularly for the overhead directional signs.

Limiting the sign family, colours and common language to three signtypes, allowed commuters to easily identify the system, and saved the confusion among the current cluster of various signtypes within the busy environment. Pink was chosen for the temporary bus system because of its immediate effectiveness and ability to be seen from long distances along primary and secondary routes.


The CBD temporary bus wayfinding strategy provided a number of challenging scenarios. As mentioned previously, BrandCulture’s preliminary programming uncovered minor issues in determining sign locations, visual obstructions (i.e. clear sight lines), material choices and implementing almost 400 signs in less than a 4 week period.

Recognising the historical importance influenced our locations the design and installation of each sign needed to enhance and deliver the correct information. Consideration was given to number of different material choices, safety requirements (i.e. fire hazards) and the fragile nature of the substrate that the signs would adhere to. This meant we needed to choose a material that could be easily removed without damage at the end of the changeover period. What was presented and used was low-tac double-sided adhesive tape.

The final result was achieved by careful project planning which included two teams on site auditing, designing, location plans, prototyping and production layouts for over 400 signs. BrandCulture executed the project with precision contributing towards the ease of movement, customer satisfaction and delivery of accurate information in preparation for the new Sydney bus network, a key part of an integrated plan to meet the transportation needs of Sydney’s growing population and city changes.


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